Match-Play and Performance Test Responses of Soccer Goalkeepers: A Review of Current Literature

Anthony White, Samuel P Hills, Carlton B Cooke, Trevor FC Batten, Liam P Kilduff, Christian J Cook, Craig Roberts, Mark Russell

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    65 Citations (Scopus)
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    Goalkeepers are typically the last defensive line for soccer teams aiming to minimise goals being conceded, with match rules permitting ball handling within a specific area. Goalkeepers are also involved in initiating some offensive plays, and typically remain in close proximity to the goal line while covering ~ 50% of the match distances of outfield players; hence, the competitive and training demands of goalkeepers are unique to their specialised position. Indeed, solated performance tests differentiate goalkeepers from outfield players in multiple variables. With a view to informing future research, this review summarised currently available literature reporting goalkeeper responses to: (1) match play (movement and skilled/technical demands) and (2) isolated performance assessments (strength, power, speed, aerobic capacity, joint range of motion). Literature searching and screening processes yielded 26 eligible records and highlighted that goalkeepers covered ~ 4–6km on match day whilst spending ~ 98% of time at low-movement intensities. The most decisive moments are the 2–10 saves match-1 performed, which often involve explosive actions (e.g. dives, jumps). Whilst no between-half performance decrements have been observed in professional goalkeepers, possible transient changes over shorter match epochs remain unclear. Isolated performance tests confirm divergent profiles between goalkeepers and outfield players (i.e. superior jump performance, reduced VO2max values, slower sprint times), and the training of soccer goalkeepers is typically completed separately from outfield positions with a focus primarily on technical or explosive drills performed within confined spaces. Additional work is needed to examine the physiological responses to goalkeeper-specific training and match activities to determine the efficacy of current preparatory strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2497–2516
    Number of pages20
    JournalSports Medicine
    Issue number11
    Early online date24 Aug 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


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